Monthly Archives: February, 2011

Into a Clear Lake

Named after a Talking Heads song, Radiohead started as few snobby British art school kids. Now they can only be viewed as the greatest band in the world. This is proven in their latest album; how it sounds, what it represents, how it was released. This band breaks all the rules of the modern music world. It is more then releasing their own record online, they did it without anyone leaking it, they did it cheap, and they are making the money.

In Rainbows (2007) in a similar fashion and they made $30 million! With the current state of music being leaked, ruined, and controlled by some faceless entity in a window office, Radiohead does things their own way and people follow without question. I am a follower.

I started listening to Radiohead around 2002, this was late to the party. I was 15. I was blown away by this band. I had only ever been blown away one other time, that was when I listened to The Beatles when I was a little kid. I knew this band was different then every other thing out there. I am extremely fond of Thom, Johnny, Colin, Ed, Phil, and Stanley (he is in the band!)

The King of Limbs marks yet another leap the band makes. As significant as the change from The Bends to OK Computer to Kid A. This is them getting better, which I thought to be impossible. It is simple and touching, and it expands and shrinks, it rises and falls. It came as a shock mentioned last week, delivered an entire day earlier then announced, and again I am blown away. It is really, really good.

My current favorite part of the 8 track is the three-in-a-row masterpiece of Lotus Flower, Codex, Give Up the Ghost. Lotus Flower will be the first track most people listen to because it has been mentioned the most, and has an incredible video of Thom contorting artistically. It may be the best new track, it has rhythm, grace, and shows off Yorke’s vocals like all the best Radiohead songs do. It is followed by Codex, which is a throw back to the haunting simplicity of Exit Music (for a film). This song slows the pace and sets you up perfectly for the acoustic pound of the beginning of Give Up the Ghost. This song really gives it to you; great guitar beginning, incredible chorus, perfect climax and conclusion to this genius trifecta.

Cannot suggest this album any stronger.

Suggested listening: It is only 8 tracks, listen to them all.

Advertisements

Summoning Lake Trolls. Top 5 Metal Albums.

Let me start off by saying that this is not a list of the best metal albums ever, but some might agree. This is a list of MY favorite heavy metal albums. I very rarely listened to metal, this last week I took advice and suggestions from friends, I did research while being snowed in, I listened to a lot of metal albums. These are the albums that stood out.

I would like to also add that I do not consider Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Van Halen, or KISS to be heavy metal bands. They are more hard rock then metal. I believe Sabbath and AC/DC were the first instances of what metal would be, but not, in themselves, metal.

“That’s impossible, there’s no such thing as trolls.”

“Then how do you explain the dead unicorns?”

5. Ride the Lightning – Metallica

Metallica’s second record was when they really became top notch musicians. The songs were more then just the fast-paced speed demons that were on Kill ‘em All. They created intricate and complex metal songs that are considered their heaviest stuff. This album is fast and unapologetic, Metallica arrived and supplanted that they were going to be around for a long time.

Recommended listening: Fade to Black, Creeping Death, Escape

4. Vulgar Display of Power – Pantera

Pantera’s 1992 game-changer was perhaps the last real metal album before grunge really got big. This album is perhaps the most “mature” album on this list. It isn’t typical by any means, it is new and exciting. Much the same way Metallica really showed up on Ride the Lightning, Pantera had a stroke of genius with Vulgar Display of Power. This is one of my favorite metal records to listen to again to find all the idiosyncrasies.

Recommended listening: Mouth for War, Fucking Hostile, Attack the Radical

3. Reign in Blood – Slayer

Slayer is considered by many to the quintessential thrash metal band, maybe the best on this list. I cannot say enough about this record. As I said, I am new to metal, this one came highly recommended. It took me at least three listens to really absorb what was going on here. So many bands want to be Slayer, they are not. Tom Araya knocks away any wincing I did, he is a great talent. Outside of metal this record is overlooked too often, it shouldn’t be. It is dirty, messy, fun.

Recommended listening: Angel of Death, Jesus Saves, Raining Blood

2. Master of Puppets – Metallica

Considered by many to be the greatest metal album of all time. That is a very accurate assessment. This album has everything that makes metal great; thrashing rifts, complex story, scary vocals, brilliant musicianship by all band members. This record should be the first any non-metal fans listen to. It isn’t watered down like pretty much everything Metallica did after, but it is just really, really good. I cannot emphasize how good this album is. Hopefully someday Metallica will return to form and grace us with another masterpiece, we shall see.

Recommended listening: Battery, Master of Puppets, Disposable Heroes

1. Piece of Mind – Iron Maiden

This is the metal album that most suits me. It is epic, literary, complicated, raw, and beautiful. The reason this album hit so close for me was that it feels constructed like a very detailed work of art. Yes, metal is definitely art. If you have any knowledge of poetry of literature, this record is perfect. If you love metal and some of the greatest vocals ever and never read, this album is perfect. With this week of really delving into metal, I understand that I love Iron Maiden. This album is my favorite metal record; it is also one of my favorite albums I have ever listened to.

Recommended listening: Where Eagles Dare, The Trooper, To Tame a Land

“We are here to make coffee metal. We will make everything metal. Blacker than the blackest black times infinity” – Nathan Explosion (Dethklok)

It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.

Has anyone else noticed they do not make PG comedies anymore? (I mean for adults). I am watching one of my favorite Bill Murray movies, directed my Harold Ramis, and as I always do, I check the MPAA rating. I was kind of surprised and then disappointed. I was surprised to see that Groundhog Day was only rated PG. I was not shocked because there is adult content like language, sex, and violence, because there is very little in this movie. I just figured it was PG-13. Do the math, Ramis plus Murray plus the typical comedies I like and most adults for that matter. I have very little problem with the ratings system other than its inconsistency, but that’s a whole other story. I was depressed when I realized they don’t make comedies like this anymore. This is sad! I do not necessarily blame studios or the press, I blame the consumer. I movie like this isn’t made because it will not make money, that’s a deep barrel friends.

I thought hard of some other PG comedies that are often overlooked and most definitely extinct. Two that immediately came to mind were What About Bob? (1991) and Houseguest (1995). These are all three movies that I was able to watch as a kid and helped shape my love of the comedy genre. What About Bob again stars Murray alongside the amazing Richard Dreyfuss and is about a lunatic who follows his therapist on vacation, it is hilarious! Houseguest stars Sinbad as a loser who cons Phil Hartman and his family into letting him stay with them until they both realize they all actually need each other. These may sound boring, but I stand firmly behind them.

Do not misunderstand me, I love raunchy, foul comedy that involves cheap and crude humor. This is not about any issue I have with modern comedies, far from it. I just find it sad that we have lost a dimension of filmmaking that I hold so dear to myself.

Of these three Groundhog Day is the best, it has many aspects of what the main character goes through. He goes from being inconvenienced jerk, to annoyed with the universe suicidal maniac, to caring for an elderly homeless guy, to the ultimate George Bailey. Bill Murray uses his greatest talent. He is a terrible person who you cheer relentlessly for the entire movie.

Maybe I am just partial to Bill Murray, but I just think the modern comedy relies too heavily on the crutch of edginess. I strongly suggest these films and will continue to think of them fondly.